Using Silk Ribbon On Needlepoint

Silk Straw Ribbon

Well hello there! I hope you’re having a wonderful day. It’s always so much fun to chat with you about my favorite subject, needlepoint. And this week, I have a little treat for you. We’re gonna dive into a topic near and dear to my heart – silk ribbon embroidery. See that picture down there?

Silk ribbon embroidery on handkerchief linen


That’s the collar on one of Rebekah’s Easter dresses from way-back-when. It’s silk ribbon embroidery on handkerchief linen. (Swwooooon… I had so much fun stitching that design.)

Did you know that you can use silk ribbon embroidery techniques in needlepoint?

Kelly Clark introduced me to the idea at my very first market way back in 2oo3. She has some really fun basket canvases that incorporate silk ribbon. Here’s one of my favorites – “Provence Picnic Basket”.

Provence Picnic Basket by Kelly Clark Needlepoint

See those lovely silk ribbon sunflowers? Those are lazy daisy stitches and loop stitches. Pretty nifty, huh? And the grapes… some of those stitches those are silk ribbon French knots.

Here’s another needlepoint canvas featuring silk ribbon techniques…

"Flower Fish" by John Johannsen for Melissa Shirley Designs

Jean Krynicki, the owner of River Silks, is the stitcher responsible for creating this masterpiece. Isn’t it terrific? Those big flowers in the center of the fish are spider web roses. They’re reeaaalllly fun (and easy!) to make. This month’s bundle for The Stitcher’s Club is “Flowers” and making those spider web roses is just one of the new “how-to” stitch videos I’ll be posting in the video library next week for members.

Using silk ribbons and ribbon embroidery techniques on your needlepoint canvases is a lot easier than you might think.

You’ll likely find silk ribbon in most local needlework shops. It comes in a variety of widths, but 2mm, 4mm, and 7 mm are the most common. They’re also the easiest to use to embellish needlepoint canvases.

My all-time favorite ribbons are from River Silks. The colors are luscious and the ribbons hold up very well to stitching through mono-canvas.

What makes River Silks ribbon so durable? For starters, it’s not cut from cloth like many of the silk ribbons available in today’s marketplace. Instead, it’s woven. And because it’s woven, it has a selvage on both sides. That means the edges don’t fray. Oh – and it has a very high thread count, too. The ribbon has oodles of body (thanks to that high thread count), so your flowers won’t be droopy.

"Petunias" color collection from River Silks

I like to use chenille needles for silk ribbon embroidery. They’re very much like tapestry needles, but they have a sharp point. (The point pierces the ribbon easily when you’re making those beautiful flowers.)

Here are a few more ribbon embroidery tips, too…

  • Using different widths of ribbons may alter the look of a stitch, so it’s a good idea to practice on a doodle canvas.
  • Your stitches should be longer than the width of the ribbon you’re using.
  • Use 10″ – 12 ” lengths of ribbon. The wider the ribbon, the shorter the length should be.
  • Use gentle tension when working with ribbon.
  • Use the thumb of your non-dominant stitching hand to hold the ribbon flat as you carefully pull it through to the back of your canvas. (This little trick keeps the ribbon from getting twisted. You may also use a laying tool, if you prefer.)

I hope you’ll join me for this week’s episode of Needlepoint TV™ on Thursday at 2:00 p.m. Central time. I’ll show you some examples of different kinds of silk ribbon flowers that you can add to your projects. And be sure you subscribe to Needlepoint TV™ over on YouTube, too. I don’t want you to miss anything.

Before you go, I’m curious. Have you ever used silk ribbon embroidery on your needlepoint projects? Tell me in the comments box below. I love hearing from you and I read every single note.

Until next time, happy stitching!

Stitch with a smile!




PS: If you enjoyed this blog please share it with your friends and family. Just click your favorite social platform below (one of those little gray circles).

And sign up for creative inspiration with our weekly emails!





10 thoughts on “Using Silk Ribbon On Needlepoint”

    • Hi Anne!
      Thank you so much for taking the time to write. ???? I’m tickled to hear that you’ve given silk ribbon a try. Be patient with yourself. It just takes a little practice to get the tension down. Once you master that, you’ll be golden! Let me know if I can help in any way.

    • Absolutely, Madelaine! It’s so much fun and it’s not very hard at all. I L-O-V-E to make spider web roses!
      Be sure and share a picture when you venture out. 😉

  1. Hi, Ellen,
    I just tried using silk ribbon embroidery and I am fascinated. I am excited to learn more stitches. I am curious to know how the ribbon holds up long term? Is it as durable as the fibers we are now using?
    Enjoy your vacation!! Michele

    • Thank you so much for your sweet note, Michele!
      Yes, River Silks silk ribbon holds up very well over time. I’ve used it to embroider clothing that gets hand washed. 🙂
      Let me know if you have any questions. I’m happy to help.

      PS: I’m planning to use it on a canvas I bought at the new shop in Gulf Shores. 😉

  2. I am planning to try the silk ribbon flowers on t he little Schnauzer canvas that I shared on Canvas Call last week. I hope it comes out good. I am going to use Japanese ribbon stitch and french knots and messy beading for the centers of the flower. Kind of taking creative license to go beyond what the canvas is painted. Which is so unlike my “anal” thinking brain. LOL

    • Hi Donna!
      Your plan sounds terrific! Learning – and putting into action – new things can be a stretch, but you’ve got this!! I can’t wait to see your progress!!

  3. Hi Ellen 🙂
    Do you have a guide for proper chenille needle sizes for different widths of ribbons and the canvases they will live on? I want to use various widths for my bluebonnets including 13mm.
    Many thanks!

    • Hi Pam!
      Great question… I typically use #22 and #24 chenille needles when working with silk ribbon on my painted canvases – even the ribbon that is as wide as 13mm. 🙂 Hope this helps…


Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Serendipity Needleworks

Hi, I’m Ellen. A needlepoint teacher and author dedicated to helping motivated but overwhelmed stitchers at every stage find exactly what they need to stitch with confidence. Whether you’re just dipping your toe into the needlepoint world or you’re ready to take your skills to the next level, I’ve fine-tuned a learning experience just for you.

Recent Posts

Get Your Free Guide: Ellen's Tips & Tricks

Please enter your name.
Please enter a valid email address.
Something went wrong. Please check your entries and try again.
Don`t copy text!